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Smoyer has served on the Lancaster County Board for the past four years and worked as an aide in the state Legislature. His practical experience, he said, would allow him to avoid the learning curve so common with term limits. With his service on the County Board he knows how local governments are affected by the actions of the Legislature.

What would be three priorities you would have if elected to the Nebraska Legislature?

My priorities, in no particular order:

* Providing Nebraskans with meaningful tax reform and relief.

* Helping encourage economic development through maintaining strong, quality education, encouraging job creation and building reliable infrastructure.

* Building a stronger justice system by ensuring prosecutors and police have the tools necessary to keep us safe, and that offenders are given punishments befitting the level of their crimes.

What is the biggest problem facing the state and how would you fix it?

The biggest problem we face is a tax structure that has not changed with the times, resulting in high taxes hitting those who can least afford them, like new young families or seniors on a fixed income. I would continue the work of the Tax Modernization Committee in reviewing adjustments and spending cuts to bring balance and fairness back to the system.

In order to address prison overpopulation in the state, would you prefer diversion of more lawbreakers into supervised release and community programs or construction of new prisons, and why?

I believe it is combination of both. First we must ask: Who are we genuinely afraid of, and who are we just mad at? Those with lesser offenses should be placed in supervised programming but others who've committed violent crimes should absolutely remain incarcerated and if that means an expansion of prison space then it's an investment we should make for the safety of our communities.

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Do you support expansion of Medicaid coverage in Nebraska and, if not, do you believe some other form of health care coverage or assistance should be made available to low-income working Nebraskans who cannot afford health care insurance and do not qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and why?

Too often we see government funding promised, then removed, and the taxpayers are left holding the bag. Because there is no guarantee the federal side of the program will maintain its funding, I cannot agree with expanding Medicaid. Instead, I would prefer to see establishment of public/private partnerships to use private funding with state underwriting to provide insurance assistance to those in need.

How should the Legislature go about addressing tax reform in future years?

We should begin by continuing to build on the work of the Tax Modernization Committee. They have established a strong baseline. Now it is up to future legislatures to make the necessary adjustments to the tax code to bring back balance and help Nebraska grow and stay economically competitive. All the while protecting funds for key services like education and infrastructure.

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